I’ll Take “Why Did My Hotel Code As Airfare” For 5X Points, Alex

Most of the times I write posts about how to earn the most points possible for purchases, like gas or groceries, or how I saved points when booking an award ticket, like when I booked my dad and his wife on a flight to Southeast Asia using ANA miles. Occasionally I’ll write about how I have to fight to get the benefits I deserve, like when we stayed at the Waldorf=Astoria in Key West. But I’ve never been able to write about a time when I received more miles than I was expecting.

Now, this just could have been a confluence of several factors that led to my good fortune so I’m not sure how repeatable this is but if anyone else wants to give it a shot, here’s what happened.

It all started when I needed to book a hotel room for Sharon in Rhode Island for a trip to visit a group of friends, which is one of our favorite reasons to travel. Unfortunately, work kept me from making the trip. I needed to book a room for her at the local Best Western and was looking for the best way for us to earn the most points for the hotel.

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One of the options I wrote about in that post was booking through Rocketmiles. I booked through their website, credited the miles to Sharon’s Virgin Atlantic account and they showed up a few days after her stay.

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Not only was this many more miles than she could have earned otherwise, but this will also keep her Virgin miles active for another 36 months.

To pay for the hotel, I used her Citi Prestige card. I didn’t give it much thought since I had no idea how Rocketmiles coded with credit cards as a travel category. Are they a travel agent? Would this code as a hotel stay? All I knew was Sharon would have her Prestige card with her when traveling and having one less card in her wallet was the primary driver in my decision of what card to use.

What a lucky accident that ended up being!

When I looked at the credit card statement, we earned way more ThankYou points than I was expecting.

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Now I expect to earn points at restaurants since the Citi Prestige is our go-to card for those expenses. But how in the heck did we earn 2,500 points on air travel when I didn’t book any airfare besides two charges for taxes on reward flights? The only thing I can figure out is that this was classified as airfare.

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Final Thoughts

Am I going to call Citi to find out how this happened? Of course not. Honestly, if I did I think it would only confuse the rep I’d be speaking to.

Should I have ever found out about this? Probably not. If I were thinking right, I would have used my Sapphire Reserve to get 3 Ultimate Rewards points on travel expenses or if I were worried about booking the hotel with a card under Sharon’s name, I would have used her Citi Premier that earns 3 ThankYou points per dollar on travel.

Instead, I used the Citi Prestige, which should have earned only 1 ThankYou points per dollar for hotel expenses. Is this repeatable? I don’t know. Anyone want to make a reservation for a hotel with Rocketmiles using their Citi Prestige card and find out?

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

3 thoughts on “I’ll Take “Why Did My Hotel Code As Airfare” For 5X Points, Alex”

    1. I was thinking the same thing. A couple other blogs reported on it – earn 5X through many OTAs, but lose the advantages of booking direct (like dealing directly with the airline when there’s a problem, possibly being ticketed sooner, possibly having faster/more access to modify the booking). Not that those are huge advantages – I hear it’s taking 1-12 hours to get through to someone at BA if you’re affected by the strike, while some OTAs have no hold time and are handling things in minutes; I’ve always received tickets from OTAs within 1-2 business days; and I’ve had more problems managing revenue bookings made with partners (e.g. AF booking through Delta website) than bookings made through OTAs.

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